Diakonia - People change the world

Colombian Programme

After more than 50 years of internal armed conflict, the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla finally signed a peace deal in 2016. Diakonia and its partners have worked together to guarantee the enforcement of human rights, gender equality and democratic participation with the goal of a negotiated solution to the conflict.

Colombia is a country characterised by vast geographical differences, such as coastal lowlands, isolated mountain villages and jungle, while being very rich in natural resources. It is also characterised by vast economic and social differences between its inhabitants. The country has undergone major political and social change in the last few decades, shifting from a typical agricultural society to a more urban and industrialised society.

Despite its violent history, Colombia has a strong civil society at national level and several peace and human rights initiatives at local level. The government presented legislative proposals aimed at attacking the structural causes of the armed conflict, including land restitution to people affected by violent dispossession and the protection of rights of the victims of the armed conflict. The Colombian government has a new opportunity – in the post-peace agreement stage – to demonstrate political engagement by protecting human rights defenders and social leaders.

Focal areas in Colombia

Diakonia has identified human rights defenders, victims of the armed conflict, women and ethnic groups as the most vulnerable groups, devoting special attention to violence towards women. Diakonia works directly with NGOs at both local and national level to strengthen legal processes, the protection of human rights and peace building. Together with national networks, we carry out advocacy on public policies at both national and international level.

Resolving the conflict

In October 2012, a formal process started between the national government and the FARC guerrilla, with the aim of resolving the armed conflict. Diakonia’s partner organizations actively advocated for a peace treaty to be drafted, thus taking the first step in putting an end to the violence and insecurity in Colombia. In 2016, a peace deal was signed.

Diakonia's work makes a difference

Diakonia’s Colombia programme cooperates with more than a dozen partner organizations, focusing on issues spanning from the rights of women and LGBTI people to those of indigenous peoples, peasants and Afro-Colombians. The work in Colombia has made a difference regarding several issues in the country:

Bolstering more than 6,600 key leaders to raise their capacity in enforcing human rights to change their communities.

Protecting human rights defenders as an ongoing tool to ensure that they can continue to work within their field.

Building the capacity of civil society organizations to enable them to work on proposals for public policies regarding peace building in the country.

Read more about our work in Colombia

  • Boarding school saves children from violence

    In the region of Sur de Bolivar, Colombia, forced recruitment of children and young people to armed groups has been a major problem for several generations. The Sol y Esperanza (Sun and Hope) boarding school...
  • Lerma: from bloody nightmare to peace

    In the 1980s, the small town of Lerma in Colombia was a real nightmare. A bloody war raged between drug cartels, and a quarter of the population was killed. But the people decided to turn things around. And...
  • Drugs a threat to peace

    Colombia is the world leader in cocaine exports. According to the peace agreement, the illegal cultivation of coca leaves for narcotics production must cease. But this is a difficult task. Conflicts and...
  • Bertina survived the massacre – now she’s a peacebuilder

    The civil war in Colombia has taken tens of thousands of lives and forced millions to flee. A few years ago, Bertina Collazos was homeless. Today, she’s involved in building the future peace in the country.

Download documents

Women in Colombia 399 KB PDF